My last park in California! (by Princess Muffin Cakes)



I just love water bottles…

Well, hello there! I didn’t realize I had company.

Hey, would you be able to reach through your computer and unscrew the lid on this water bottle for me? Mom left a few drops of water inside and these special drops told me they just HAVE to be dumped out. ALL over my onesie.

Aww, you’re so cute, Princess! But they actually can’t open it for you.

What if I say, “Pease???”

Double awww! But nope, they still can’t open it for you.



That’s it. We’re out of here! Running off to the last park of our California summer.

Shucks. It’s not a bottle of water, but I guess it’ll have to do.

There goes Mr. Light Blue Hat!

Mr. Orange Hat!

Mr. True Blue Hat!

And Mr. Wook-Mom-I-Don’t-Have-To-Weaw-My-Hat-If-I’m-Hiding-Under-Here!

Ice cream mushrooms, anyone?

I don’t know. They make it look fun, but I just don’t know if I buy it.

Come on, Mom. Let’s check it out.

Well, look at that! It *is* fun!

Even without my water bottle. :)

The first day of school!

Today was our official first day of school! We broke open the new math books and worksheets. And we took our First Day Photos.

Take a look!

Sir Bubbers (with a fistful of potato bugs!): 6th grade

Sir Boots (who found two handfuls of potato bugs that stung him, poor guy!): 4th grade

Sir Potatoes (and his new Disneyland buttons!): 2nd grade

Sir Joo-Jee (in his new swim shirt he wants to wear every day!): Pre-Kindergarten

(Truth be told, I’m basically doing kindergarten with him. He didn’t meet the deadline for our remote school program, but he’s ready to learn, so I’m teaching him. He loves his lessons so much, it’s wonderful.)

Princess Shoo-Shee (with her brother’s shuriken!): Toddler school

We’re excited for the new adventures this school year will bring. :)


p.s. Check out these adorable curls! I still have a hard time believing we have a little girl. With blue eyes. And curly hair. And the sweetest smiles and giggles. I just look at her in wonder.

A Day at the Beach: Abalone Cove

We’ve really enjoyed going to the beaches here in California. The views are gorgeous and the water is so fun.  I’d take the kids every day if the aftermath of sand in every crevice of the van, house and little bodies wasn’t such a chore to clean up afterward.  So I try to make it out about once a week and this was our trip last Friday.

Here on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, most of the beaches require a hike down. So I wore Shoo-Shee Muffins and had the boys pick a buddy to take care of. There was a little grumbling and fear of the rattlesnake warning sign and how big the waves were, but we all made it and settled down to have a great time.

Favorite highlights:

– Everyone squinting or closing their eyes in pictures and Joo-Jee physically holding his eyes open! (They’ve had such a hard time with pictures in the sun here!) :)

– Joo-Jee throwing handfuls of mud at the waves.

– The group of “mudmen” Potatoes made, imitating Calvin and Hobbes’ snowmen. :)

– Shoo-Shee getting in on the sand action.

– Potatoes lounging in his sand chair.

– Bubbers and Boots digging furiously.

– Joo-Jee digging furiously because his brothers were also digging furiously.

– Watching the kids enjoy the water.

– How relaxing it is to hear the ocean.

– And actually feeling that relaxation while I’m there with my kids. (It’s taken me a lot of trips to the beach this summer to feel more comfortable with my kids playing in the ocean.)

– The *gigantic* grasshopper Boots caught and let his brothers take turns holding. (We don’t have grasshoppers or crickets where we live in Washington.)

– Being grateful I could physically and emotionally handle an outing like this by myself with five kids.

– Baths when we got home! I’m so grateful that Heavenly Father made our bodies washable.

Aquarium of the Pacific

Charming’s office in Long Beach is near the Aquarium of the Pacific, so this week I took our lives in my hands and braved the *insane* bridge that connects the PV Peninsula to Long Beach.

(The roads here are very narrow and poorly maintained. There are rarely signs for construction road closures, so your lane just disappears on you and people don’t usually like to let you in. Combine that with a massive set of freeways, tons of semi-trucks and *chronic* speeding everywhere and my stress levels shoot through the roof.)

Once I got our huge van parked, I took a moment to breathe and get my heart rate down to 200. Then it was time to meet up with Charming and enjoy the gorgeous Aquarium of the Pacific!

Our favorites:

— The super cool wave fountain out front. The kids could have chased that wave around all day long!

— Getting a cute family picture! I love it when places offer to take our picture!!

— Petting a gazillion creatures!!! Rays, sharks, jellyfish and I don’t know what else!

— Feeding the beautiful lorikeets!!

— How Shoo-Shee Muffins jerked her entire body back in mid-air when I bent her down to pet one of the creatures.

— Watching the kids get cute and shy around the costumed penguin. :):) (I can’t wait to see them with characters at Disneyland!)

— How much we *all* love aquariums.

— Deciding that we really need to get a home aquarium. Because fish are beautiful and silent. Which makes them the perfect pets ever.